By one estimate, 44 percent of Americans make a New Year’s resolution. That’s the good news. However, not everyone succeeds in meeting their goal. In fact, by February a whopping 80 percent of resolutions will fail. Is this your experience? Have you managed to stick by your 2021 resolution? We want you to succeed because successful resolutions lead to healthier habits. Here are some facts and tips to support you on your New Year’s journey
Resolutions, By the Numbers
Data shows most of us want to exercise more (59 percent), and a slightly smaller group of us would like to eat healthier. Losing weight is a goal of 48 percent of us. Setting smaller targets that we can actually accomplish makes excellent sense. So what might this look like?
Firstly, make sure you are fit to undertake a new health regime. Check with your primary care doctor that no ongoing conditions prevent you from losing weight or stepping up your exercise plan.
Instead of saying “exercise more,” set a series of mini-goals.
- Registering with a free online app such as My Fitness Pal or using a device like a FitBit, you can start seeing how many steps you take in an average day.
- Or you may wonder if you can do better than 2,000 or 3,000 steps.
- See if you can step up to a higher number each week aiming for 10,000 steps per day in 4 weeks?
Instead of Saying “I want to eat healthy,” Get Specific
It is curious that many of us set goals to eat healthier when we’ve just filled our houses, our fridges and ourselves with tons of delicious – and often unhealthy – food over the holidays.
The first step is to clean up the fridge and go shopping for some healthier choices. Some menu planning before you shop will lead to longer term successful dietary regime change.
- Is snacking your downfall? Stock up on healthier snacks. Take a snack pack of raw veggies and a small pot of hummus to work, or give your children some sliced apple with a peanut butter for snack time. In both cases, you’re getting some protein that will help prevent an energy lull that destroys your willpower.
- Plan to eat breakfast at home. An english muffin and a scrambled egg seasoned with dried basil and a teaspoon of parmesan (9 calories) adds up to 207 calories. Home cooked breakfast starts your day off on the right foot.
How Resolutions Can Succeed
Many New Year’s resolutions fail because we skip a bit of preparation, both mental and otherwise. Invest your time in picking, planning and preparing for a new goal, visualize yourself succeeding and even exceeding your goal. Plan small goals that build to bigger goals.
Choose a Goal That’s Right For You
First of all, pick a goal that’s attainable. For instance, if you’d like to lose weight – say, ten pounds – consider cutting sugar from your diet, something that is tangible and, for most of us, more realistic. Cutting sugar can lead to weight loss in the long run.
It’s essential to pick goals that are right for us and our circumstances. If weight loss is your goal, there’s lots of ways to go about it. Maybe cutting sugar isn’t the right route, but cutting carbs or going to the gym are.
Tiptoe Into Your New Year’s Resolution
A blog post in the American Psychology Association suggests change is best done in small increments. Using exercise as an example, this can mean going to the gym a few days a week instead of disrupting your regular pattern with hours of gym time. “Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time,” the APA author writes. “Thus replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time.” Stumbling to attain your goal – such as skipping the gym for a week – is part of the process. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
Finally, it’s a good idea to tap into a support system. At Premier Medical Group, our doctors are here to help you achieve your health-related goals. Give us a call or book an appointment to see how we can help you greet 2021 in good health.